Duke's twitter account among accounts hacked with Nazi symbols

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Duke University's Twitter account was among the many compromised by pro-Turkish hackers. (Twitter)

Several Twitter accounts, including Duke University's, were hacked overnight with pro-Turkish messages and swastikas.

In most cases, the account's profile picture was changed and the cover photo is made into the Turkish flag. In all cases, a tweet with a swastika and a message written in Turkish was sent out.

It's not clear how many accounts were taken over late Tuesday but the targets appear to have been entirely random.

Twitter Counter, an Amsterdam-based third party Twitter analytics company, told The Associated Press it had started an investigation into the matter.

Hackers have hijacked a slew of Twitter profiles amid the ongoing diplomatic feud between Turkey and two European nations, Germany and the Netherlands.

Media reports say a slew of accounts as varied as UNICEF, Amnesty International, Starbucks Argentina, CBS TV Studios and Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci have had their accounts compromised by hackers who used them to broadcast pro-Turkish messages.

Neither Twitter nor Twitter Counter immediately provided a figure for the number of accounts affected. UNICEF, Duke, Amnesty, Starbucks and others did not immediately return messages seeking comment, although they and other high-profile accounts appear to have since returned to normal.

The Twitter hijackings are the latest in a campaign of online vandalism that has followed from days of escalating tensions between Turkey and its European partners over Turkish politicians' hopes to campaign there ahead of their country's constitutional referendum next month. The dispute has devolved into angry nationalist chest-thumping, a display mirrored online by the defacement of a large number of random Dutch websites.

On Monday alone several hundred websites were hit at a single Dutch internet hosting provider, Versio, according to an employee who posted a message to the company's help forum.

The hackers who've claimed responsibility for the campaign have so far not returned messages from the AP.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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